“Cabriolet” Festival… A space of hope amidst the crowded crises in Lebanon (photos)

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date of publication:
June 06, 2021 16:49 GMT

Update date: June 06, 2021 17:25 GMT

Neither the difficult economic conditions in Lebanon nor the Corona virus prevented movie lovers from gathering again to enjoy watching a bouquet of short films that deal with issues of oppression, freedom, immigration and others.

In the open air on the staircase of Gemmayzeh, in the neighborhood badly damaged by the explosion of Beirut’s port last year, viewers of all ages sat watching the screenings of the Cabriolet Short Film Festival, which lasted for three days from the fourth to the sixth of June.

Sarah Sfeir, one of those who attended the inauguration, said: “For such a long time we have not come back. We have sat with Hald Alem (this large number of people). We did not go back to the movie.”

The festival program, which offers free screenings across 6 screens, and raises the slogan (Existence), includes 56 films dealing with the meanings of existence and survival in a series of tapes signed by directors from Lebanon, Europe, the United States and Australia.

The festival opened its activities on Friday evening with the film “The Hood Rule” by young Lebanese director Fayez Abu Khattar, which deals with the story of a young man who decided to protest against the Lebanese regime.

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19 films were shown on the first night, including the movie “Aida” by the Lebanese Hanin Abi Khalil, and there was an Arab participation by the Egyptian Basma Sharif and her movie “Rahma”.

On the second night, 18 films were shown, including “Room 16” by Lebanese actress Carol Abboud, directed by Danny Saliba, for which he won the Best Director Award at the European Film Festival in London.

The founder of the festival, Ibrahim Samaha, said: “This year, the slogan is he chose himself. Existence was because we are now in an existential state, and we cannot complete the festival for the thirteenth year. I mean, continuity is the basis for it.”

The Lebanese director and actress Nadine Labaki, who was chosen as the artistic face of the festival, had released a video recording a few days ago on her Instagram account under the title “A Message of Hope” to invite to the festival.

Labaki also appeared to the audience in an audio recording at the opening of the festival, in which she said: “Our dreams are many, our ambitions are great, and the art about us sells and sells the world, even the painful ones, because we were here and we will stay.”

Labaki’s appearance came according to a tradition that the festival follows every year by choosing a director or actor, bearing his name in his honor.

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Zina Yassin, who participated as an assistant director in the opening film, said, “Gemyza did not die and remained in its glory despite the explosion.”

She added: “Heidi is the culture of the Lebanese, that we have survived many wars. It is very nice that we were seeing a world that was a base that helped in the tragedy. Now we see it helping in a few days, in which there is more joy and more hope.”

The explosion of Beirut Port on August 4, 2020, killed about 200 people, caused great financial losses and destroyed several neighborhoods in the Lebanese capital.

The outbreak of the Corona pandemic and the failure to form a new government also contributed to the deterioration of the political and social conditions.

Muhammad Sabbagh, one of the viewers, said that the scene of movie screenings on Gemmayzeh Amphitheater is a source of pride, as he was able to bring this place back to life ten months after the harbor explosion.

He added: “People here are recovering their wounds, but Beirut does not die. The world does not die in Beirut. This is a very sweet thing. We go back to half Beirut, 200 meters away from the site of the explosion.”





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